Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cokaliong vs. George & Peter

Cokaliong and George & Peter are shipping companies operating in Visayas and Mindanao. I have no idea if they have a route going to Manila. Having grown up in a landlocked area, the only modes of transportation I usually take are airplanes and those that travel on roads. Even when we have to take a short trip to Cebu, we usually take the plane, ferry/bus, or fast-craft. Anyway, on our trip back from Cebu, we rode in M/V Georich, a George & Peter ship. We were supposed to take Cokaliong, but apparently, their ship leaves Cebu on Sundays during noon. There were only a few people in the cabin, and Sharkteeth was so excited because she got dibs on the top bunk. Hello! Sya lang naman ang interesado sa top bunk. Hahahahahaha! It was fairly uneventful, well, except for the 4-hour delay. There was engine trouble and they had to fix it. Well, I just slept it out, or at least tried to. It was pretty difficult because Vice Ganda's show was on and it was really getting into my nerves. Everything got peaceful when the TV was turned off. The trip was fairly comfortable, and when I attended a seminar a week later, I decided to travel by sea again.

From Dumaguete to Cebu, I booked on Cokaliong's M/V Filipinas Iloilo ship through their booking office near the pier two days before my trip. The ship leaves at midnight and I got to the pier around 11:30 pm. The crew I encountered were courteous, but they seemed to be amateurish. I think that might be either student seamen or recent graduates. The cabin, however, is much larger than Georich's, but since there were only a few people, they let me choose whichever bunk I liked, and I chose the bunk near the starboard. The cabin is a bit kitschy -- there are crystal chandeliers and scones! They asked for an ID as a form of "security deposit" for the beddings, though I really can't think why anyone would swipe them -- the blanket is like fleece and the bedcover is polyester (uggghhh!!!). Thank goodness I brought my oversized travel blanket. I settled in and fell asleep thereafter. I woke up briefly to pee, and I sent an SMS to TheHusband that the ship hasn't left yet. It was so suabe I didn't even realize that we're traveling na pala. Hahahahahaha! I woke up early, like 4 am, because I tend to sleep lightly when I'm not on my own bed -- namamahay ako. I went to take a bath. Ah, the restrooms aren't comfortable. In a range of 1-10, with 1=I'd hold my pee and 10=Chuvaness approved, I'd say that it's around 4. It's not really dirty, but it's incredibly tiny and with visible plumbing. The following picture of the porthole was taken in the restroom. (By the way, the bathroom and the toilet are in one cubicle. Di pwede ang maarte!)

I looked for a charging station and one of the crew just directed me to the electrical outlet for the videoke machine (seriously) at the cafeteria. A hot cup of instant coffee is PHP20, and they are also selling instant noodles. Wow! Overwhelming menu. Lest I forget, the ship has WiFi! The crew were very efficient though. Come morning, there was one stationed in the restroom who diligently cleaned up the mess from water splashes from the restrooms. And a few minutes before the ship docked, a crew went around, flipping the mattresses and checking for anything left by the passenger. It took us approximately 7 hours to reach Cebu. It may be a bit long, but it was relatively restful. As it was my first time to travel to Cebu by ship, I was a bit surprised by the beggars -- they were paddling small boats! Some passengers tossed some coins, and kids came diving for it. Others tossed plastic bags of I don't know what, food perhaps, all deftly caught even by this old woman. It made me a bit sad.

On my way back, I traveled by George & Peter Lines, through their ship M/V Georich.  To give  a fair account, I'll review the trip we had the previous Sunday as well, which we booked through Mail & More (with 50-peso surcharge) in SM Cebu.

As I've said earlier, the cabin was much smaller, hence more privacy, though my husband clarified that the cabin is actually huge, but shaped like a U, thus making it appear small. We were booked at the port side of the cabin. The crew did not ask for any security deposit for the blankets, and again, the blankets are made of polyester. Hay. Mas madali kasi yung labhan. The blankets smelled like they were freshly laundered. I mentioned that the trip was delayed by four hours, but no one announced it and I was left wondering why. I wish they won't put television sets in the cabin and just place them in the recreation area (not sure if there is one though) -- it was so damn loud. Now, their restrooms are a different story. I went several times, and they smelled and were grimy -- I wouldn't dare go inside without alcohol or sit on the toilet. They have separate bathrooms and toilets. Still, it was bearable. In my toilet scale, I say, ~2.5. Since the trip was four hours late (we were supposed to dock around 4 am), they served breakfast. It was, get this, rice+pancit noodles with sardines. Di ko maintindihan yung pagkain, but then, like I've always said, may vetsin ang dila ko and I found it strangely palatable, especially since inulaman ko ng dimsum left over from dinner. We docked at Dumaguete Pier at ~8 am. 

Now, now, my solo travel was a totally different story. I again booked my ticket thru Mail & More in SM Cebu. I had to finish a bit of work and just went to the pier an hour before the departure. There were so many people, way more than the previous Sunday. Good thing I booked my ticket in SM...ubusan ng beds. Unfortunately, I was assigned to the top bunk at the starboard side. Hay, hinagpis. There were more bunks there, hence more people. All beds were filled. I tried switching to the port side, where we were previously booked, but it was full as well. It was so noisy 'cause it was the championship round of The Voice Philippines. And the sheets didn't smell as fresh as last week's. I don't know how, but I fell asleep around 11 pm, only to wake up around 2:30 am because the passenger on my opposite bunk was snoring loudly (sarap sakalin!). And somebody kept on passing (poisonous) gas. Ugggghhh...I didn't manage to fall asleep again after that 'cause the smell of petrol wafted inside the cabin. The restroom was much filthier and smellier than the previous week, perhaps because of the sheer number of passengers. That's it. Di na talaga ako nakatulog and my stomach felt so unsettled. It was also very windy and the sea was so choppy, making me all the more dizzy. I didn't bother going back inside the cabin and just sat on the open deck, where other passengers are. Medyo nawala ang hilo ko because of the open air. I was so grateful when we arrived in Dumaguete around past 4 am.

My stomach was so unsettled, and instead of going home directly, I proceeded to Chowking for some congee. By the way, di na pala sila nagbebenta ng congee. Tulog pa yung mag-ama when I got home. I hit the shower immediately after getting home because I felt so grimy and dirty, to think that before the trip the previous night, I showered in SM's Tourist Center. I just said a brief hello to TheHusband and Sharkteeth before sleeping again. I think I slept for five hours, which indeed refreshed me, but I was still so hilo that while working it felt like my chair was bobbing up and down.

All things considered (cleanliness, general peace and quiet, staff/crew, WiFi), I think Cokaliong's M/V Filipinas Iloilo wins this round. Though no more traveling by ship for me anytime soon. Well, I might consider riding in Cokaliong's M/V Filipinas Iloilo again. M/V Georich? Nah, probably not. Unless they have someone stationed in the restroom to clean it every so often.


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